Archive for August 26th, 2015

T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding from a surface – ComposiMold

Composimold is a composite molding material. The details are a trade secret. It’s biodegradable, food safe (but don’t ingest), honey coloured, rubbery at room temperature and melts in the microwave. It’s designed for mold-making, and can be melted and reused at lest 35 times. I got mine from Aldax in Sydney (http://www.aldaxstore.com.au/), and there’s lots of information (except for composition) on the Composimold company website http://www.composimold.com/.

Sample p3-8

Sample p3-8 in progress

Sample p3-8 in progress

In my first experiment I used a silicone egg ring on a smooth plastic cutting mat as a base. Plasticine was used to create a seal around the bottom. The tub of composimold was put into the microwave for three bursts of 30 seconds, until it melted to the consistency of runny honey. A pool was poured into the ring, then a half skin from a sumo mandarin put on top. No mold release was used.

I waited for around an hour for the composimold to set (ambient temperature around 18° C).

Sample p3-8 Backlit

Sample p3-8 Backlit

The backlit view gives the best idea of the level of detailed texture captured. Where the mandarin rested the material is thinner, but there are no breaks.
Sample p3-8 Flexing

Sample p3-8 Flexing

The mold is delicate, ethereal. Variation of depth causes colour change, enhancing our perception of the textured surface. Tiny air bubbles bring vitality and light into the surrounding material. What would be a flaw in a mold for casting becomes a positive here.

The photograph on the left demonstrates the flexibility of the material. The disc will fold right back on itself with no apparent damage. I feel this could be useful, although I don’t have a particular application in mind yet.

This image also shows the “splash” effect of the molding material moving up around the mandarin skin as it was placed in the ring.

Sample p3-8 over indigo paper

Sample p3-8 over indigo paper

The material is almost totally transparent. On the right a piece of indigo dyed paper has been placed behind it and detail of the patterning is clearly visible, green through the gold of the composimold.

The surface of the composimold is very slightly tacky to the touch. The samples I saw in the store had picked up dust and lost their gloss and some of the transparency – something to consider when presenting and storing work if those properties are significant.

Sample p3-8 side detail

Sample p3-8 side detail

A closeup of the splash effect shows the energy and dynamic interest created. The delicate tracery around the edges is moderately strong but I suspect would not withstand prolonged or rough handling.

Sample p3-8

Sample p3-8

A final, full view of the sample. A very exciting result which left me keen to explore more. I have however noticed the pace of experimentation has slowed still further. I like to see the results of one sample before deciding on the next step, and setting time is becoming significant. I will probably need to adjust my process when working with the casting materials or I won’t be able to meet the assignment deadline.

Sample p3-9

Sample p3-9 in progress

Sample p3-9 in progress

A computer circuit board was used as the source of texture in this sample. The same egg ring and plasticine were used, but this time the base was the circuit board itself, propped up to be roughly level.

Sample p3-9

Sample p3-9

Sample p3-9 side view

Sample p3-9 side view

The composimold was able to capture the detailed connections on the card. There is interest and variety but also order in the impression obtained.

The photograph to the left demonstrates the impact of different angles of viewing. The colour of the material is much richer where we are looking through the full width of the mold. In sample p3-8 the best photographs had the molded surface showing and the smooth surface on the table. This allowed appreciation of the depth of texture. In the current sample the best photographs had the smooth surface uppermost. When the molded surface was on top visually confusing and blurring shadows muddied the image.

Sample p3-10

Sample p3-10 in progress

Sample p3-10 in progress

Sample p3-10 was molded on a warp-faced synthetic luggage strap and a loose round braid of synthetic yarns. Egg ring and plasticine were used to contain the molding material, and once again I didn’t used a mold release or prepare or pre-treat the base materials in any way.

Sample p3-10

Sample p3-10

Some composimold adhered to the surface of the strap and it had to be very carefully peeled away. A small amount of material found its way underneath the strap, but it was a simple matter remove it. However the braid was basically encased in the composimold. I cut through one side and was able to extricate the braid, but it has created a thin and weak area across the mold.

Despite or because of those difficulties, the fine details of the texture have been captured and the result is pleasing.

Sample p3-10 backlit

Sample p3-10 backlit

The backlit view allows one to appreciate the intricate impression. This material is very effective in capturing texture. The transparent honey is pleasing to my eye. Being a one part material that is simply heated in the microwave makes it easy to use – and reuse. The major constraints are low tolerance to heat (of course – it melts!) and possibly picking up dust, degrading the appearance.

P3-e1 group of samples - polymorph and composimold

P3-e1 group of samples – polymorph and composimold

I also find the combination of materials, polymorph and composimold, of great interest. Above we see the same three subjects captured in the two materials. I would like to find a way of joining these elements in a way that can take advantage of different lighting conditions.

Sample p3-11

Sample p3-11 in progress

Sample p3-11 in progress

Looking again at sample p3-8 while writing up this log led me to make one final sample during this work session. The delicate splash effect on the earlier sample made me wonder about a full mold catching that dynamic lift. The composimold site shows the possibility of painting on the material, and this seemed a good fit to the task.
Sample p3-11

Sample p3-11

This sample is a delightful, delicate bowl that beautifully records the mandarin’s texture and shape. The appropriate colouring is a lucky happenstance of the combination of materials.

Sample p3-11 Inside out

Sample p3-11 Inside out

The flexibility of the material makes it a simple matter to turn the textured side out, in the photograph highlighting the glossy surface of the painted side.

Sample p3-11 Backlit

Sample p3-11 Backlit

The backlit view visually flattens the bowl, creating a flower-like look.

On this first experience I am very taken by the possibilities and ease of use of this material. I have a few days of other activities scheduled, which will give me some time to think about next steps.

T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding from a surface – ComposiMold
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Project 1: Molding from a surface – ComposiMold

T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Victoria Ferrand Scott

Victoria Ferrand Scott

Victoria Ferrand Scott Together

Victoria Ferrand Scott
Together

Victoria Ferrand Scott is primarily a sculptor, but also works in video, drawing, photography, mixed media and more.

ictoria Ferrand Scott Compress and Expand

Victoria Ferrand Scott
Compress and Expand

At first look I found her work in concrete confronting – so visceral, smooth curves and bulges, suggestive. When working at Leeds University as a Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence ribaldry was a common reaction to one of her experimental forms. On learning more it’s not surprising. Ferrand Scott describes her work as “exploring processes which harness the natural forces of gravity, pressure and elasticity to create sculptures which bulge with their own visceral life.” Flexible containers are created from latex or fabric, filled with liquid concrete, and allowed to hang and and take its unpredictable form, with an occasional reinforcing bar added in potentially weak areas. That description isn’t too far from a sagging human body.

Victoria Ferrand Scott

Victoria Ferrand Scott

Ferrand Scott has shared her exploratory approach in the online process log of her Residency (link). This included an extensive series using different water/cement ratios and various additives in concrete, seeking combinations that gave the properties she required.

Molds were sewn using a variety of textiles. The grain of the fabric, seam treatment and placement of supporting bindings all influenced the final form taken by the casts. In some samples the texture or printing on the textile left impressions, although the print transfer was regarded as a non-permanent effect.

Victoria Ferrand Scott BS Series

Victoria Ferrand Scott
BS Series

In my current course we are encouraged to take risks, to learn from failures and move on. Weight was an issue, particularly when Ferrand Scott moved to larger pieces, and attempts using different aggregates to lighten forms were unsatisfactory. She moved on to the next idea, designing more complex molds with apertures, thus reducing dead weight. This brought its own challenges of structural integrity and placement of reinforcing. It also made a striking change in the forms produced.

In her log Ferrand Scott notes “the first reminds me of Polynesian figurative artefacts, the next has more of an alien character with an extended head and narrow arms. It fascinates me how little is needed in an upright form for it to suggest a standing figure.” An interesting observation in itself, and also an example of an aspect of her approach that attracts me, that accords with my own desire for narrative in a work. All the artworks (as distinct from sampling) are titled. I don’t know when in the process the names were chosen, but many had me looking again at the piece and seeing more in them.

Reading through the material provided by Victoria Ferrand Scott provided links to other sites. A number are no longer active, but I’ve included a few links below to a student workshop and exhibition which has some exciting forms.

In terms of my own exploration, ideas of sewing molds, playing with seams and grain are very enticing. On the other hand I’ve decided that the complexities and choices in working with concrete are too complex for the scale of my current project.

All images reproduced by kind permission of the artist.

Resources

http://www.axisweb.org/p/victoriaferrandscott/ – Artist’s website

http://tinyurl.com/vfscott-AIR – Entry page for Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence website. Includes a link to Ferrand Scott’s monthly process log.

Other links
http://sites.eca.ed.ac.uk/fabricformedconcrete/exhibitions/the-cast-exhibition/ The Cast Exhibition – in Edinburgh, showing outcomes of a 2 week workshop in 2012 involving architecture, textiles and glass.

https://sites.eca.ed.ac.uk/fabricformedconcrete/workshops/surface-texture-and-light/results/

https://sites.eca.ed.ac.uk/fabricformedconcrete/student-projects/march-0809/

T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Victoria Ferrand Scott
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Artist Research: Victoria Ferrand Scott


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